Sexual attraction towards abuser/people who remind me of abuser

prynne

Confident
I have a problem with feeling attraction towards one of my abusers (or people who remind me of him) and then later feeling so ashamed that sometimes it makes me suicidal. I hope I’m not the only one who has felt like this because right now I feel alone and disgusting. For some reason when it comes to other people who have been sexually abused, I completely understand that it can warp their sexuality and that it isn’t their fault. It’s always different when it’s me.

I think a lot of this has to do with the part inside of me that is loyal to my abusers and “loves” them (my therapist officially diagnosed me with DID on Monday). The part that wishes she could go back to them and would do anything they tell her to do. The part who wants to find someone exactly like them to keep hurting her. Let’s call her A.

I met with one of my doctors today. He is an attractive, intelligent older man who is at the same time affectionate and demeaning towards me. He calls me baby and is touchy, but also acts like I’m stupid and scolds me for doing things that he doesn’t want me to do. Etc. He sends me on an emotional rollercoaster of feeling wanting and feeling worthless. There are other physical ways that he reminds me of my abuser, but I don’t think they’re relevant. I’m 20 and he’s probably 60. A loves him.

While I was with him today and for a couple of hours afterward, I felt overjoyed at seeing him. He made me feel special and I wanted a different kind of relationship with him. I started making plans to seduce him the next time I see him. The line is blurry as to what I was doing versus what A was doing, but she's probably responsible for a lot of it given how now I'm feeling completely different and am having a hard time remembering the past few hours. Now the shame is starting to settle in the pit of my stomach. I feel nauseous. I know that other people would think that what happened was gross. I even told my friend earlier and she didn’t seem to think it was as cool as I did. I remember telling her something like “it’s only sexual harassment if I don’t enjoy it”. Wtf was I thinking? That is so gross. He probably shouldn’t be acting this way with his patients. And I shouldn’t be enjoying it.

This is a recurring issue. I seem to be magnetized toward people who remind me of my abuser. Usually, people who are more cruel than my doctor. It’s like I want them to hurt me. It makes me feel like what happened to me when I was a child was partially my fault, that I wanted it. I know this is probably unreasonable. I know that A probably only feels and acts this way because she thinks that if she’s in her abuser's good graces then he won’t hurt her as badly. Something like Stockholm syndrome. It still feels horrible though. I feel like a monster
 
Not a monster. This is very, very common - so common it's almost automatically expected for folks like us. It's also natural that you should feel disgusted by it, which I'm also pretty sure all of us are too.

Give yourself a break if you can, and give A a hug. She's trying to protect you. She's doing it all wrong, but she's not aware of it yet. But you are, and you're the one in charge. You're doing ok, believe it or not.
 

prynne

Confident
This is very, very common - so common it's almost automatically expected for folks like us.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for sharing this with me. We've all heard jokes about people with "daddy issues" seeking out unhealthy relationships with older men, but it's usually framed as a moral failing on the part of the younger person, not as a common and understandable response to trauma.
You're doing ok, believe it or not.
Thank you so much for your kind words 💛 They help me feel less alone and ashamed. I'll keep trying to reach out to A and help her. It's just hard to let her express anything without her putting us in danger
 

Sideways

Moderator
Super common.

My first psychiatrist - I knew a heap of his other patients and at least half a dozen were sexually attracted to him. Goes with the territory. The doc in your case sounds unprofessional in some of his mannerisms, which is going to make the situation harder rather than easier.

Then there's the attraction to anyone resembling your abuser as a distinct thing. Also super common. For a lot of folks, all it takes is a power differential in the other person's favour and they're in transference territory. And your doctor has that as well. So doubly likely to play out.

So, weird? No. Very likely to occur? Yep. Which is one of the reasons a lot of folks ask for doctors who are the same gender as themselves. I did that with my last pdoc, and it helped. Transference wasn't an issue I felt like I needed to work through (because mostly I was aware of the issue and managed it reasonably well), so I took steps to manage it. And with doctors that's a simple case of asking for one that carries zero risk.

He calls me baby and is touchy, but also acts like I’m stupid and scolds me for doing things that he doesn’t want me to do.
Do you think there would be a benefit to you in addressing this? I get it's not something you'd want to do, but it's the perfect situation to practice:
(1) behaving like you have worth;
(2) requiring people around you to treat you like you have worth; and
(3) setting healthy boundaries.

It doesn't need to be a big confrontation, just a simple "Please don't call me baby." No big deal to him, but potentially a big deal for your healing? Just an idea, anyway.
 

prynne

Confident
My first psychiatrist - I knew a heap of his other patients and at least half a dozen were sexually attracted to him. Goes with the territory. The doc in your case sounds unprofessional in some of his mannerisms, which is going to make the situation harder rather than easier.
I've experienced transference with other doctors before, but not anything this bad. It happened once with a male IOP therapist; I was attracted to him but also wanted him to be my father. Confusing. He was kind and professional enough that I felt like he would be safe and supportive if I chose to talk to him about it. It's happened with other doctors who were also kind and never rude to me so the relationship was manageable and not so toxic.
all it takes is a power differential in the other person's favour and they're in transference territory
Yep. This is me when it comes to men.
And with doctors that's a simple case of asking for one that carries zero risk.
This doctor has hyped himself up so much that he's convinced me that no one else I see will be as good as him. In fact, he's told me that exact thing multiple times. His family is a big deal in this field, apparently (not psych). Maybe he's a liar, maybe I could easily find a specialist as good as him, but I'm not sure how I would be able to tell. I don't understand enough about what they're doing to know if they're doing a good job or not. I guess I'm just afraid that he's right that I would be in bad hands if I left and then things would be even worse when I came back to him. As I'm typing this I'm realizing these are literally the types of things people say about their abusers. Maybe this is a bigger deal than I thought
It doesn't need to be a big confrontation, just a simple "Please don't call me baby." No big deal to him, but potentially a big deal for your healing? Just an idea, anyway.
When I'm thinking about it now, I would like to do this even though the idea of it is terrifying. I have no idea what his reaction would be and I'm afraid that he would lose it and hurt me, emotionally or physically. I don't think it would be no big deal. He has an enormous ego and people like him react aggressively to someone "challenging" them, in my experience. Another problem is that when it's happening I enjoy it. A is at least partially in control, and she wants this to continue. Maybe I could stay completely in control and make it happen, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth knowing that after our next appointment I'll most likely only be seeing him once a year. Maybe that's just me not respecting myself enough. I'm never sure what is unacceptable and what I should just deal with.

Another detail that may give me some more options: my mom works with this dude and hates him. She's also a medical professional, although not in the same field. I don't have an exact plan on what to do yet, but I think she may be able to help me in some way.

Thank you for your kind words. They really are helpful and I do plan on actually doing something to address this issue.
 

prynne

Confident
The more I think about what happened today, the more disturbed I am by it. I don't think he was supposed to be doing those things.

He called me baby. Grabbed me by the chin to hold my head straight during part of the exam, I guess, but he did it in the way that someone would grab your chin before they kissed you and his face was level with mine. Said that he loved me as a joke (??) Touched me in those close friend places, like hand and the shoulder/back. I know that's not inherently bad. Maybe he was just being friendly, but I haven't had a doctor do that to me since my pediatrician. At the same time, he says those things that make me feel horrible about myself like interrupting me and saying "Don't give me that." sternly when I say something he doesn't agree with. I don't want to read too much into things, but the escalation from our first appointment to this one reminds me so much of being groomed as a kid. Push the boundaries. See what they'll let you get away with. Give them what they crave, but chip away at their self-esteem so they stay.

I'm going to tell my mom about what happened tomorrow and see what she has to say about it. I'm afraid of him escalating things further at our next appointment if I don't do anything. Feeling upset. I thought that keeping myself overweight would keep me safe from things like this. Even with all the things he's done, it really never even occurred to me that he could possibly be attracted to me. I try to keep myself unattractive on purpose, usually.

He even knows that I was sexually abused because it's in my chart, apparently. He brought it up when we were going over my medical history. If he is a creep that may have made him think that I'd be an easy target.
 
Last edited:

Sideways

Moderator
Maybe he was just being friendly
It doesn't always matter.

One of the irritating things about having been sexually abused is we often get into thinking that anything falling short of sexual abuse must somehow be acceptable.

It's not appropriate. And it sounds like a perfect opportunity for you to experience yourself standing up for yourself. It's an awesome experience to have. Even without a fight, walking away and having that experience of standing up for ourselves and the world not ending? Is fantastic.

Part of me still loves my abuser. It's okay to have conflicting feelings about people - loving and hating a person simultaneously is part of the human condition. And even if you like someone, and want more of their attention, doesn't mean "so I won't enforce any boundaries with them."

You got this. Back yourself:)
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
The more I think about what happened today, the more disturbed I am by it. I don't think he was supposed to be doing those things.
You're doing a lot of really impressive processing. From being diagnosed with DID on Monday, from understanding what A wants, from working out how adult you feels about the situation, and working out what adult you wants to do about it. That's really impressive.

Talking with your Mum sounds a good idea.

Maybe he is the best medical professional in the field. But he certainly isn't the best at behaving like one.
Do you need the best? Or do you need a good doctor who behaves appropriately?
 
Top